FM - Manchester Academy 2012

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FM - Manchester Academy 2012

FM, Romeo’s Daughter, Deborah Bonham Band - Manchester Academy 9 March 2012.

Twenty five years after the release of FM’s classic debut album Indiscreet, the band are out on just three dates to play the album in its entirety for the first time,  with a few old mates along for good measure.

Deborah Bonham opens up the show with a short set showcasing a couple of new songs from the forthcoming album.  Powerful, soulful, bluesy, all the usual plaudits of Deborah’s voice are here a plenty with as tight a band as you could wish for.  A most entertaining opener – look out for more dates later in the year.

Romeo’s Daughter are back following their return at FireFest  in 2009, and new album Rapture.  Again the set consists of old and new sitting comfortably alongside each other.  Having opened for FM back in 2010 they know exactly what the crowd expect and deliver it with style.  Leigh Matty still commands the audience with ease in a classic AOR set.  Melodies and harmonies abound with Craig Joiner’s guitar providing the hard rocking live edge.   Closing the set with their classic I Cry Myself to Sleep and Wildchild it’s more proof that the band can still cut it – no pure nostalgia trips here.

They say that class is permanent, and after twenty five years, FM’s debut album Indiscreet is still one of the classiest albums you’re ever likely to hear.  From the opening chords of That Girl it’s hard to tell who is enjoying the night most – audience or the band themselves.  This is the second of only three scheduled “Indiscreet 25 Live” tour dates with the whole of the album being played live for the first time.  The lush harmonies and production of the album give way slightly to a harder edge live, but without taking anything away from the quality of the songs.  From the rocking of American Girl through to the soulful Love lies Dying and Frozen Heart, we’ve got nine songs of prime melodic rock without a “filler” in sight. FM made the decision to do this celebration as so many fans had made it known how much the album meant to them. Steve Overland may still have one of the greatest voices of this genre around but at times it was almost superfluous as the crowd sang along and joined in at almost every line.

Relative newcomer, Jim Kirkpatrick seems to have grown in confidence of his place in the FM family since the Metropolis tour of 2010, strutting and posing across the stage like any good guitarist should. The connection between band individually and collectively with the audience is there for all to see.  None more so than when original keyboard player Didge Digital joins them on stage for a rousing Heart of the Matter the line up of two guitars, two keytars and bass stretches across the stage with smiles all round just as wide.

Having completed the album, the suggestion “can we go home now?” comes from Pete Jupp – but clearly something that no one wants to do as we are then treated to a selection of tracks from the Tough It Out album,  the likes of Bad Luck and Burning My Heart Down every bit as strong as the material from Indiscreet. Throw in a few B-sides from the era with Dangerous and Let Love Be the Leader and we’ve got the perfect night, cumulating in a rousing Hot Legs resurrected from the encore days of the eighties to end a just about perfect night.

With this and the London show being recorded, the hope is for a “deluxe” reissue package of Indiscreet with the original album, the album live and a DVD documentary based around the story of the album and this tour.  Not something to be missed, and with a brand new album allegedly in the can the lads are likely to be back out on the road again with that later in the year.  And I don’t think there’s a single person here who wouldn’t be up for the next gig, whenever it may be.  As they say Class is permanent.

Now that could then take us towards the Tough It Out 25 Live tour in 2014!

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